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At a masquerade ball to raise money for renovations to Memorial Library, Kellan finds a dead body dressed in a Dr. Evil costume.

Did one of Maggie’s sisters kill the annoying guest who’d been staying at the Roarke and Daughters Inn, or does the victim have a closer connection to someone else at Braxton College?

As Kellan helps school president Ursula bury a secret from her past and discover the identity of her stalker, he unexpectedly encounters a missing member of his family. Everything seems to trace back to the Stoddards: a new family who recently moved in.

Between the murder, a special flower exhibit and strange postcards arriving each week, Kellan can’t decide which mystery in his life should take priority. But unfortunately, the biggest one of all has yet to be exposed - and when it is, Kellan won’t know what hit him.

250 pages, Paperback

First published March 18, 2019

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About the author

James J. Cudney

20 books3,721 followers
James is my given name; most call me Jay. I grew up on Long Island and currently live in Connecticut, but I've traveled all across the US and various parts of the world. After college, I accepted roles working in technology, program management, and business operations in the retail, sports, entertainment, and media industries. Although I enjoy my career, I began to focus on other passions in 2016: telling stories and connecting people through words. My debut novel is 'Watching Glass Shatter,' a contemporary fiction family drama with elements of mystery, suspense, humor, and romance. From there, I've written other family dramas and an eight-book mystery series. To see samples or receive news from my current and upcoming books, please subscribe with your email address at my website: https://jamesjcudney.com

I'm an avid genealogist (discovered 2K family members going back about 250 years) and cook (I find it so hard to follow a recipe). I love to read; between Goodreads and my blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, I have ~1800 book reviews which will give you a full flavor for my voice and style. On my blog, I started the 365 Daily Challenge, where I post a word each day that has some meaning to me, then converse with everyone about life. There is humor, tears, love, friendship, advice, and bloopers. Lots of bloopers where I poke fun at myself all the time. Even my dogs have segments where they complain about me. All these things make up who I am; none of them are very fancy or magnanimous, but they are real and show how I live every day.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 50 reviews
Profile Image for James.
Author 20 books3,721 followers
May 30, 2021
Since this is my own book, I'm not going to write a review. I'm using this space to let you know when there are discounts or marketing promotions, as well as share some thoughts on how the book came to be.

Flower Power Trip is my fifth novel, also the third in the Braxton Campus Mysteries series. The series follows typical cozies in that it doesn't contain graphic violence, sexual content, or vulgar language; however, I've turned the genre upside down by focusing on a young male protagonist who is a single father and relies on his wit, connections, and intelligence to solve crimes, all while he's teaching, working at film company, and trying to keep his eccentric nana under control.

To buy this book, please visit Amazon where it's available for purchase as a Kindle, physical paperback, large print, an audio book. If you're not convinced yet, check out the blog tour for this book where you can see each blogger's posts with author Q&A, special features, videos, and future release information. You can visit my author page for more details. Thank you for considering my work.
Profile Image for Candace Robinson.
Author 50 books1,035 followers
March 30, 2019
It felt like home to be back inside Kellan’s head once again! His character feels extremely real and you struggle with him, journey with him, and grow even more with him! And yes, my lady, Nana D is back!!! I'd honestly love a whole book about her! Even like a prequel to when she was younger!

One of my favorite scenes in the entire book is the costume party! I seriously want to go to one like that!! The side characters are all great with distinctive personalities that don’t feel cookie cutter!

This one has quite a good mystery that I had a lot of fun with! It has to be my favorite in the series so far and I can’t wait to see what Kellan’s up to next! Because dun, dun, dun ... cliffhanger!!!
Profile Image for Kathi Defranc.
1,183 reviews468 followers
August 20, 2019
A Mystery During A Masquerade Ball With A Myriad Of Characters Involved!!

A great addition to the 'Braxton Campus ' mystery series by James Cudney! Definitely my favorite thus far and the author has improved so much from the first book!! Intriguing characters that you enjoy spending time with, great plots that keep you guessing and many twists that keep the story interesting from start to finish, with that little cliffhanger that has you eager to read the next book.
I have never been a big cozy reader, but this series has definitely pulled me right in! Kellen Ayrwick is a Dad of young girl,a nice guy to all and has a wife all believe is dead after a car accident..But she is Not..His family are an interesting bunch, with his Nana D the 'grand marshal' of all she surveys. A great friend is receiving death threats and asks Kellen to help her find out just what is going on!
Lots of action with laughs and tears as a certain ' stranger' turns out to be closer to his prey than anyone could imagine!
Profile Image for Bernard Jan.
Author 10 books214 followers
April 29, 2019
While Kellan Ayrwick, a brilliant one, as his Nana D likes to call him, is trying to resolve a new Braxton murder, he is not aware of another mystery that will hit closer to his home.

Flower Power Trip is a multilayer story full of memorable characters, blooming with an irresistible charm. This is the third book in the Braxton Campus Mysteries and if you haven’t read the first two books, please do that. As the author takes us deeper into the life of Braxton, the more we love it. From book to book his characters are more alive, more realistic, more present and funnier and we want to hang out with them more!

Their creator James J. Cudney, a brilliant one, is making us addicted to his cozies and people we’ll miss and wait with expectation until the next book from the series downloads to our Kindle or lands on our bookshelves.

Bernard Jan
Profile Image for Shalini (shaliniandbooks).
2,521 reviews208 followers
March 31, 2019
Murder mystery and I have a close relationship. I love this genre, and it loves me back. Who can ever forget Sherlock Holmes?!! (Who can ever forget Benedict Cumberbatch, yumm)

Kellan strikes again, his days of sleuthing has become frequent, much to the ire of our lovely sheriff April and my personal favorite Myriam. This time Myriam's wife Ursula needs help and Kellan has been given the responsibility to find the stalker. But instead, he finds a dead body at the masquerade ball, and onward and forward he goes to get to the killer.

In the recent times, there is nobody as brilliant as author James Cudney in writing plot lines. His stories always have layers of subplots in them. He is quite a ringmaster who can guide us readers perfectly in the direction he wants us to go, I didn't even realize that I was being tricked. I kept suspecting the wrong people. Ugghhh!!

In this book too, James has placed the red herrings at such perfect points that I went flying down the maze and soon got lost in the wonders of the convoluted story. By midway, I had written everyone's name in the Suspect List except the murderer. Sheesh!! Talk about a sleight of hand, I couldn't see the author's till the very end. And it left me shocked!!

I liked the main character Kellan in this story more than the previous 2, he was confident and self-assured. In spite of a dubious married life, Kellan managed to have a great relationship with everyone, especially his daughter Emma, his grandma Nana D, and his sister Eleanor.

The entire book took me three hours to complete, and it was nothing but pure fun. After reading the story, I am left with a single thought.

James Cudney is a magician whose words and plots on paper are like those card tricks that nobody can guess.

And yes, I loved the book!!
Profile Image for Betty.
2,006 reviews55 followers
May 7, 2019
Kellan Ayrwick is working with Ursula to identify her stalker in the third edition of the Braxton mysteries. He has other problems that need his attention. He has been receiving post cards weekly from his ex-wife, Francesca from places they visited together. Kellan is helping Nana D with her campaign for Mayor. He accidentally discover a sibling who left town a few years ago. His brother is not willing at this time to see their parents. His relationship with Sheriff April is moving along at a slow pace. I like the scenes with his daughter, Emma as it added much to the tale.
A fund-raiser for the library is planning a mask a ball. At It Kellan is hoping to find out who is stalking Ursula, instead he finds a figure, dressed as Dr Evil dead and Helena standing over him holding a bloody knife. Kellan now is exploring the murder to clear Helena's name. What is Ursula secret? Why she was stalk? I highly recommend this book and series.
Profile Image for Eileen Thornton.
Author 27 books116 followers
May 18, 2019
Once again, Kellan Ayrwick finds himself trying to solve a murder at Braxton College, when, at a fancy dress function he finds a visiting professor stabbed to death
Alarmingly, the person standing over the body, clutching the knife, later proved to have killed the man, is a family friend. She professes her innocence to Kellan and, even though he believes she didn't kill the man, he keeps getting the feeling that she is hiding something. But he is adamant to get to the bottom of the problem and find the real killer and prove she is innocent.
However, along the way, there are times when he wonders whether he might have been wrong - maybe the person he was defending was guilty after all. Nevertheless, he continues on his quest to get to the truth, often irritating April, the County Sheriff. But he is beginning to get used to that.
This is a most enjoyable read. I had already read and enjoyed the first two books in the series, so I was sure this one would be just as good - if not better. And, yes I was right. The story-line continues to run well. James J. Cudney has done it again. I thoroughly recommend this novel.
1,326 reviews24 followers
March 2, 2019
I have not always been a fan of "cozy" mysteries as I like my thrillers dark and edgy. But since I discovered Cudney's Braxton Campus novels, I am a convert! This is #3 in the series but each can be read as a stand-alone (although I advise you to start with the first as the characters are so endearing that by #3 I feel like they are old friends)! Kellen has moved back to his hometown to teach and seems to get caught up in the small town murders that have recently plagued the campus. The mystery itself is captivating and confounding but what always draws me in are the colorful, quirky, and always humorous characters in the novel. Kellen's grandmother, Nana D. is a clear favorite and I enjoy her banter and feisty personality as well as his daughter whose cheeks I just want to pinch (yes, I know they are fictional but hey, I want them to be real)! I have loved all of Cudney's novels as the writing is succinct and poignant; the dialogue is witty, and the plot is always fascinating! So if you're looking for a clever series, the Braxton Campus novels are right up your alley!
Profile Image for LORI CASWELL.
2,478 reviews278 followers
May 4, 2019
Dollycas’s Thoughts

Poor Kellan, he finds another dead body. This time in the courtyard at the Memorial Library during the fundraiser masquerade ball. Crime sure has been on the rise since he came back to town. The body may tie into a situation Braxton’s school president is facing. The school is also hosting a special flower exhibit, one of Kellan’s siblings is back in town, Nana D is running for mayor, and Kellan’s not so dead wife is sending him postcards from places they had traveled together.

Kellan Ayrwick is a protagonist pulled in so many directions this reader almost got whiplash. Thankfully he handles it all pretty well. Some really big things happen in this book in addition to the murder and I need to be very careful because I don’t want to spoil anything.

The story sets a quick pace from the beginning and doesn’t let up even at the end because there is a heartstopping cliffhanger. A story full of twists, the book is practically impossible to put down. I think I suspected everyone at some point in the story, except maybe Kellan. His parents were surprisingly absent from the masquerade ball but that didn’t mean one of them wasn’t hiding in the courtyard. So they were on my list too, like I said, everyone was a suspect in my mind. The author did a great job of keeping his readers guessing.

The characters Mr. Cudney has created are top-notch and continue to grow as this series continues. Nana D. continues to be my favorite. I love the relationship she has with both Kellan and Emma. His parents are actually missing him now that he has moved to his grandmother’s guest house. Kellan’s relationship is evolving in a surprising way with another character. It gets kinda humorous in places.

While the main mystery of this story reaches a very satisfactory conclusion, a continuing storyline hits a major arc by the final page. I loved that and I hated that. It has become a trait of this author that I just have to get used to. 🙂 Thankfully the author has the next book Mistaken Identity Crisis set to be released on June 30, so I won’t have to wait too long to see what happens next.

I have seen James J. Cudney writing chops grow in each of the books in this series. He is clearly finding his footing as each book is better than the last. I recommend reading the series in order for maximum enjoyment, but each one can stand on its own.
Profile Image for Didi Oviatt.
Author 29 books191 followers
June 3, 2019

Possibly my favorite Braxton Campus mystery so far!!! Flower Power Trip is the third installment of Kellan Airwick's tale. Each book can be a stand alone, but I strongly suggest reading them all, in order. The first book gives an excellent introduction to many of the characters and their family dynamic, and each book from there only grows in development. They line up seamlessly, each story complementing one another and focusing on several different character angles. I especially love the growth and development with Kellen's daughter. She's adorable, and the father daughter relationship is lovely, it's absolutely on point. My favorite character in Flower Power Trip (as well as the others) is hands down Nana D!! She's just as snarky and sarcastic as always. Best. Grandma. Ever.! Talk about some spunk.

There is a lot going on here... a stocker, a murderer, and TUNS of buried family secrets. There's so much to keep straight and to uncover, yet Kellan is the master of multi-tasking as well as meticulous integration of details. He might be a teacher, but he very clearly has some natural detective vein pumping mystery solving skills throughout his body! Perhaps he and April, the Wharton County sheriff, will work out some sort of side job in the future *hint hint*... I mean, as much work as Kellan puts into his crime solving skills, it's kind of a shame that he hasn't been paid for it... yet lol.

I think my very favorite part of this book is the masquerade ball. The scene is painted so very flawlessly, and Kellan is dressed up as none other than the crime solving guru himself. It's a perfect fit, to the complex setting and buildup to the rest of the book. I love everything about the Braxton Campus books, especially how real it all feels. There's very little a reader like me enjoys more than an emotional connection to the characters, kind of like feeling at home, and James J. Cudney has provided us with that feeling yet again. Kudos on another success Mr. Cudney! I'll be reading book 4 very very soon! I can't wait to see what's in store for us next in Wharton County!
Profile Image for Candace.
895 reviews
May 29, 2019
Flower Power Trip: Death at the Masquerade Ball (#3)

Kellan Ayrwick is helping the Braxton College president, Ursula Power, find who is stalking her. Maggie Rourke, head librarian of the Memorial Library, is hosting a masquerade ball to raise funds to renovate the library. The theme is Heroes and Villains. The guest are to come dressed as their favorite hero or villain. It is during the ball that Kellan comes across a dead body with the murderer still holding the knife. The victim turns out to be a visiting professor, and the murderer is a close family friend, Helena Rourke. Believing Helena is innocent, Kellan uses his amateur sleuthing skills to track down the real killer. In the meantime, Kellan is receiving postcards from his much-alive wife, and he's helping Nana D run for mayor.

James J. Cudney has written another masterpiece. The characters are dynamic and memorable. The dialogue is snappy and witty. The mystery is top notch. It keeps the reader guessing till the very end. The red herring kept pointing in key directions. I was sure I knew who the murderer was, then Woops! it turned out to be someone I wasn't considering. Excellent job, Jay! And, of course, that's not all. The cliffhanger will have us all sitting on the edge of our seats until the next book, Mistaken Identity Crisis, is published this summer. Kudos, Jay, for an excellent read.
Profile Image for Brian Porter.
245 reviews11 followers
April 9, 2019
A mystery with a real cutting edge

Kellan Ayrwick returns in the third Braxton Campus Mystery. This time a visiting professor is found dead in the middle of a function at the University and one of Kellan's friends is found holding the murder weapon. Convinced of his friend's innocence, Kellan sets out to discover the identity of the real killer.
James Cudney is adept at creating realistic and interesting characters who you easily come to care about. We are faced with enough familiar faces from his previous books to give a feel of familiarity about the book, as if you are visiting old friends in a place you feel familiar with.
His ongoing love-hate relationship with April, the sheriff develops further, but he still manages to get on her nerves with his 'amateur meddling' and yet they find themselves working towards the same goal, albeit from two different angles.
The author is developing his style and his characters more and more with each Braxton Campus Mystery and I'm very much looking forward to seeing his next installment.
Profile Image for Darinda.
8,289 reviews149 followers
March 2, 2020
The third book in the Braxton Campus mystery series by James J. Cudney. A cozy mystery series with interesting characters and a delightful university setting. Charming and entertaining. Good for fans of humorous cozies.
3 reviews
April 9, 2019
Kellan Ayrwick and his quirky family are all back for this third installment in the Braxton Campus Mystery Series. Kellan, now professor Ayrwick, is assisting the Braxton College President, Ursula Power, who is receiving threatening messages. Ursula is worried that her dark family secret will be revealed, when a visiting professor is found stabbed to death during a college fundraising event. Kellan stumbles across the murder scene just as a family friend is discovered standing over the dead body. Unwilling to believe that this friend is a murderer, he now takes on the challenge of solving the crime, all the while continuing to assist Ursula to uncover her tormentor. Are the two incidents linked somehow?

Balancing his penchant for stumbling into crime scenes, along with teaching duties and single parenting his young daughter, is all the more difficult with his continuing battle with his former in-laws, the Castiglianos. How will he resolve his own marital problems, while helping his cantankerous Nana D win the mayoral election and keep her, and her friends out of trouble!

I am really enjoying this cozy mystery series as each story is entertaining, light-hearted (if you can label murder light 😉) and full of humorous personalities. I truly don’t know where the next twist will come from or how the resolution will play out. As any good series, each book could be read as a stand alone, but I strongly recommend starting from the beginning, as the characters become more vibrant, endearing and relatable as they navigate new challenges. I will be pre ordering Jay’s next book in this series, Mistaken Identity Crisis, ASAP!
316 reviews4 followers
March 30, 2019
Kellan has much going on in this third instalment in James Cudney’s Braxton Campus series. He, along with his daughter, is now living on Nana D.’s property, as well as continuing to run her mayoral campaign. Kellan also tries to dodge trouble from both the sheriff and his bosses, Ursula and Myriam, while inserting himself in yet another murder investigation, at Maggie’s behest, to protect a family member of hers going to jail for said murder. However, it proves not easy to hold both Sheriff April Montague and Myriam Castle at bay, considering that both Kellan and Ursula are hiding things from both of them, instead of involving the proper authorities.

Kellan is also still dealing with the situations that entered the fray at the ends of the previous books, culminating in a very complicated situation with April, as they seem to be developing feelings for each other, but neither is willing to further put aside their antagonist tendencies to pursue that at this point and just work on developing their tentative friendship.

Kellan’s teaching job seemed to take more of a backseat in this one than in past volumes but there is more than enough family drama to make up for it. His sister, Eleanor, is still eager to start her own family and the reappearance of Kellan and Eleanor’s younger brother further intrigues.

I very much enjoyed this story. I didn’t expect the twist in the mystery that was presented at the end of he previous book and I always enjoy seeing what people have been up to since we last saw them. I liked this latest journey to Pennysylvania and I look forward to going back in the next book.
Profile Image for Patrick Hodges.
Author 49 books120 followers
May 8, 2019
I can't get over just how complex and multi-layered James Cudney makes his mysteries. There's so much going on, with multiple subplots and a myriad of colorful characters filling the pages; and yet, I never had trouble following the progression of events.

Once again, Kellen Aywrick is called upon to solve a murder when a man is murdered at a costume party. It turns out the man was not who he claimed to be, and in order to keep one of his good friends from taking the fall, Kellen must use all his sleuth skills to suss out the guilty party.

The rich tapestry of the setting, populating by such rich characters as Kellen's six-year-old daughter Emma and his irrepressible grandmother Nana D, are what breathe life into Cudney's stories, and Flower Power Trip is no exception.

Profile Image for Donna.
391 reviews49 followers
June 10, 2019
I love books set in an academic setting. This is a very solid series. Good set up for the next one....
Profile Image for E. Billups.
Author 23 books106 followers
February 4, 2020
Flower Power Trip: Death at The Masquerade Ball is the third book in James J. Cudney’s Braxton Campus Mysteries. This cozy mystery series grows more gripping with each successive book as Kellan Ayrwick, professor and campus sleuth, stumbles again upon another perplexing murder.

Ursula Power, President of Braxton, is the target of an unknown stalker and has asked Kellan for help. Ursula’s history comes to light when, once again, a third murder crosses Kellan’s path at a costume ball fundraiser for Braxton’s new library.

“Whoever was lying on the ground had been stabbed and bled all over the slate tiles. “Who is it?” . . . I looked more closely at the victim and realized it was a guest who’d dressed as Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers flicks . . . Sheriff Montague wasn’t going to be pleased that I’d found another dead body.”

Is there a connection between Ursula’s stalking and the murder of George Braun who’s possibly her long-deceased brother?

“From what Ursula had previously shared, Flower Child was a nickname given to her by her brother, Hans. She’d spent most of her childhood collecting flowers and researching their potential uses in medicines and herbal remedies. . . until the explosion in the lab eliminated any records or verifiable, repeatable results.”

Kellan’s mind starts to spin with questions as he meddles in Sherriff Montague’s investigation, getting her riled. Hmm, but not so much this time. Kellan’s always in the wrong place at the right time or vice versa. He’s a magnet for murder. Is he, as Sheriff Montague stated, “the center of all the crime in our charming and secluded town.”

" . . . it was definitely from a knife wound to his abdomen. Actually, he was stabbed twice. The killer knew exactly where to cut George for maximum pain and almost immediate death. Oddly enough, only Braun’s prints were found on the weapon.”

The third book introduces new characters, George Braun, the Stoddard family, Lissette Nutberry, Kellan’s capricious Aunt, Deidre, and a few more. Old and new characters’ lives intertwine in mysterious ways with the deceased, George Braun, making them prime suspects in this Agatha Christy style whodunnit mystery.

Just when I thought I’d figured out the murderer, I was proven wrong again. What I love about this series is that every suspect has a compelling motive to kill. The obvious suspect standing over the body with the knife is too easy. Kellan takes a circular path, backtracks, then moves in a different direction until the murderer clarifies, or he’s wounded senseless with a flowerpot.

Kellan’s world is still filled with unresolved issues surrounding his supposedly dead wife, Francesca, a mystery as baffling as Braxton Campus murders, one dangerously entangled in the mob-controlled, Castigliano family. Nana D is still running for Mayor as Kellan settles into his new role as professor and a single parent to his beloved daughter Emma. His wayward brother, Gabriel, has returned with secrets Kellan withholds from the family, respecting his brother’s privacy. Continuously, Kellan receives postcards from his missing wife visiting places they frequented in the past.

Is it truly his wife or someone trying to mislead him? How can he possibly have a normal life with the Castigliano family shadowing him? No wonder Kellan’s love life is still nonexistent. However, a strange relationship is burgeoning between him and Sheriff April Montague. Can it be? Is she? I dare not ask. Hopefully, I’ll find the answer to my queries in Book 4.

Mr. Cudney has crafted a mystery true to the cozy mystery genre. His well-written, suspenseful story held my attention clear through the end as Kellan sleuthed into every aspect of suspects’ lives. I’m looking forward to seeing Kellan’s world unfold as the series progresses, his relationship with Sheriff Montague, Nana D’s antics, and the discovery of his missing wife.

If you love a cozy mystery reminiscent of Agatha Christie, and an adorably witty, sleuthing protagonist who has a weakness for sweets and his daughter, you will want to pick this one up. I highly recommend Braxton Campus Mysteries.

Profile Image for Carla.
6,131 reviews135 followers
April 1, 2019
I struggle when I identify the books in this series as cozies. There are elements of cozy mysteries in these books, but they have a bit more to them. They are more of a mystery, with a cozy component (i.e. amateur sleuth, small community, eccentric characters). I have read all the books in this series and even though they can be read as standalone stories, you will want to start at the beginning. The main characters have developed along with their relationships to give you a real feel of knowing them and relating to them. There is also one mysterious storyline that runs throughout all the books.

In this edition, Kellen and his daughter are living in a small home on Nana D's property. He needed to get out of his parent's home. He is still working with Nana D on her mayoral run, dodging his surly boss Myriam as much as he can, and trying to figure out where his wife is. When there is a murder at the Costume Party Fundraiser that his sister and friend are hosting for the library, Kellan stumbles into the investigation. The mystery itself is captivating with a lot of clues, suspects, questions, secrets and red herrings. I finally figured out who the killer was, just before it was revealed in the story. The motivation was unexpected, yet appropriate and fitting. One of the best things about this series is the characters and their relationships to one another. It was great to see Kellan and April (Detective) getting along better in this story, but maybe getting along too well, only time will tell. The characters are all a bit quirky and eccentric, especially Nana D and her friends. They speak their mind and often had me laughing out loud. I definitely look forward to the next book in this series and recommend, not only this book but the whole series, to those who like a bit more meat in their cozies. I received a copy of this book from Great Escapes Virtual Tours upon my request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.
Profile Image for Michele Northwood.
Author 6 books34 followers
July 2, 2019
This is the third book in the Braxton Campus Mystery series and - although I had not read the two preceding books – (and now wish I had), this was not an issue, as all the characters are explained to the reader when they appear for the first time in the story.
The protagonist, Kellan finds the dead body of a University professor at the library. This is the third corpse that he has stumbled across and the local pólice chief makes it clear that she does not like him meddling in her investigations, although it is more than apparent that she actually needs his help.
Kellan needs to clear Helena Rourke´s name. She is found holding the murder weapon and is believed to be the killer. Kellan, on the other hand, has other suspicions.
The convoluted plot makes just about everyone a suspect and the reader is thrown from pillar to post trying to second guess who the real murderer could be and why.
The storyline has everything, from a wife in hiding, presumed dead, links to the Mafia, long lost relatives, stalkers and a Grandmother running for Mayoress.
The cliffhanger ending leaves the reader wanting more. This is a well-written, entertaining book with just the right amount of humour. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Mae Clair.
Author 19 books553 followers
January 26, 2020
Once you visit Braxton Campus, you can’t help becoming immersed in the lives of the varied people who populate this quaint setting. Kellan Arywick is a professor with an uncanny knack for sleuthing out murderers—through no fault of his own, and much to the chagrin of the local sheriff. This time around, Kellan, agrees to help Braxton College president, Ursula Power, discover who’s stalking her and sending threatening notes. Instead, Kellan ends up with a dead body on his hands, the prime suspect his ex-girlfriend’s sister. Kellan and Maggie have a maintained a strong friendship, so he’s soon up to his neck in trying to find out who did the deed. A stalker, a murder—and that’s only part of what’s going on in this multi-layered mystery.

Complex, but believably presented, the main threads tie up in a neat bow by the time the end arrives. Getting there, however, is quite the rollercoaster ride with suspects presenting themselves at every turn (there is also a few ongoing threads that carry over the series, but in no way leave the reader unsatisfied).

Highlights for me: Kellan’s grandmother “Nana D” is a scene stealer, though there are so many colorful characters in this series, each is given multiple moments to shine. The dialogue is witty and the writing crisp.

An absolute highlight is the masquerade party held to raise funds for renovations to the library. The theme is Heroes and Villains, with guests attending dressed as their favorite hero or villain from literature. I want to go to that party!—minus the murder, of course. Also of note is Kellan’s frenemy relationship with Sheriff April Montague, who finds his meddling in police business, annoying to say the least. It’s fun seeing the progression and changes to their relationship.

If you like cozies and whodunits, with vibrant characters and snappy dialogue, this is a series for you! I read this book without reading the first two in the series, but given how enthralled I am, I want to read them all!
26 reviews
May 18, 2020
Murder Mystery

The third book in the series. I've enjoyed getting to know the characters and town better while Kellan investigates another murder. One actually starts to feel you are part of it all.
Profile Image for Ryan Hoffman.
Author 6 books29 followers
January 12, 2023
Flower Power Trip is the third book in the Braxton Campus Mysteries. Kellan Ayrwick amd crew ends up involved in another case. It all happens during a masquerade ball held for repairs to the Memorial Library. One one of the guests dressed like Dr Evil is found murdered and someone close to the crew is the prime suspect. Lots of secrets play in. Good story and mystery.
Profile Image for Sally Cronin.
Author 22 books159 followers
September 21, 2019
A well written and compelling mystery.

Having read the previous two books in The Braxton Campus Mysteries, it was great to catch up with familiar characters, and find how they have moved on in the short time since the last story. Considering that it is only four months into Kellan Ayrwick's return to the town, he has been kept busy sleuthing. As the police chief, April Montague, keeps mentioning, people do seem to be dropping dead rather more frequently since his return. But is her frosty demeanour towards his intrusion into her investigations beginning to thaw?

With a costume fundraiser and a prominent flower show being organised in the university grounds, it is not a great time for another murder, especially when Kellan stumbles upon it and a possible killer. The official investigation is hampered by lack of evidence and with a tacit agreement from the police chief, Kellan is back to sleuthing to uncover secrets from the past, and shady dealings by both residents some of the newcomers to the town.

Running parallel to the story is the continuing mystery surrounding the death of Kellan's wife, Francesca, daughter of  mobster and his wife Vincenzo and Cecilia Castigliano. Who is sending those nostalgic postcards?

Kellan's grandmother is as feisty as ever as she prepares for the mayoral election and continues to interfere in the lives of those around her.  We are introduced to the extended family of existing characters from the previous book, adding fresh faces and another layer of intrigue to the fabric of the story. After three Braxton mysteries, this eclectic group of people is beginning to feel like a community I would not mind joining.

I pride myself on being able to spot the culprit pretty early on in a murder investigation, but James Cudney introduces enough red herrings to keep us amateur sleuths busy and barking up the wrong tree. The climax to the story was excellent and we have been left with a cliffhanger that encourages a swift purchase of the next book in the series Mistaken Identity Crisis... which is now lined up on my reader.

The author has created characters that are easy to relate to and enjoy and the plot is well paced. The reveals give you only just enough to whet your appetite and keep you guessing until the last page. I recommend that you begin with Academic Curveball and enjoy the same journey that I have been on, getting to know the family and friends of Kellan Ayrwick and the Braxton Campus.
Profile Image for Nina Silva.
198 reviews11 followers
April 2, 2019
The Braxton Campus Mysteries continue in this third instalment, Flower Power Trip. In short, I loved it. The author has most certainly hit his cozy mystery stride and that comes through in this book. It’s a treat to read.
While each book in many cozy mystery series function well as stand-alone, I think this series is best read from the start. Important character arcs develop from book to book and the highest level of enjoyment will come from following in order. That said, each book in this series provides a new, fully-developed and properly-resolved mystery and can still work on its own.
The current mystery: Once again Jay delivers a very well-plotted story of intrigue. No one is above suspicion, not even family! The many viable suspects, motives and opportunities made the story interesting and made me feel I had an actual chance at discovering the culprit. I may have had a chance but ultimately I did not figure out who it was until a moment before the big reveal.
Kellan: This protagonist is definitely growing on me! I like that he gets dressed down by April and even Myriam, who remains her bossy, insufferable self. That’s not a bad thing as Kellan is still pretty full of himself at times, especially as concerns his sleuthing abilities. He does possess a kind and generous disposition, though, and that makes him very likeable.
Secondary characters: I really enjoyed the reappearance of several characters from earlier stories, even types we may not normally see recurring in a cozy series. This helps to make this newest instalment really feel like a ‘coming home’ and running into familiar folks.
Nana D isn’t too much in the spotlight this time around but that’s okay as we get to focus on other characters. Her behaviour at a family gathering still manages to provide one of the funniest scenes in the book.
Gabriel comes home and I am so in love with his story. He has a shady past. He is /was on a journey of self-discovery. He’s keeping his return home on the down low and he’s building his relationship with Sam. There is so much potential to explore in just this one character. I can’t wait to read more.
April and Kellan are at each other again. We see a softer side, however, to the brash and indomitable sheriff. She and Kellan are certainly trying to find a way to put up with each other and I look forward to see how this volatile relationship unfolds.
Francesca: This story line just gets juicier and juicier. But it’s not the main mystery. The author does a great job providing readers with little snippets of that drama while keeping the focus on the main storyline.
Kellan’s managed to find himself in the middle of a love quadrangle. But it’s really cute, especially as there is no guarantee of returned feelings. Only one of these ladies has made it clear she’s interested but the chemistry is there with the others too. Where will that delicious drama go???
The pacing is spot on in this narrative. The story starts off with a bang and the action continues from there. The characters are evolving and remain interesting. The bigger story arcs are intriguing and being well-developed across the books.
Just be warned, the last page sets up the drama for Book 4. I hate cliffhangers but I can’t really fault Jay for how he’s done it this time. It’s pretty much a great segue! I voluntarily read and reviewed and ARC of this book.
Profile Image for Lghiggins.
807 reviews9 followers
June 25, 2019
The third cozy in the Braxton Campus Mystery series does not disappoint its fans nor leave out new readers. It begins with a helpful Who’s Who briefly describing the characters in the series. The first chapter follows up with a summary of the action in the first two books as told by the main character Kellan, while getting the plot for the new book underway.

Kellan discovers a dead body and again finds himself in the middle of a homicide investigation. Flower Power Trip swirls delightfully with interesting characters, a multitude of clues, and humorous repartee. Several threads continue on from previous books: Kellan’s rocky relationships with his boss Myriam and Sheriff April Montague, Nana D’s bid for the mayoral seat, and Kellan’s presumed dead wife Francesca with ties to a mob family. There are also romantic conflicts and more than a little danger.
Profile Image for Michael Stern.
Author 28 books67 followers
November 3, 2020
"Flower Power Trip" by James J. Cudney, is the third book of the Braxton Campus Mysteries series, and I must say, the series is growing on me. Our protagonist, Kellan Ayrwick, is a professor at Braxton College, soon to be University, who finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, repeatedly, which is of course to say, for him, it's the murder site. Following his investigations, and his interplay with the other members of the Braxton community, including his grandmother, Nana D, makes for quick and easy reading. I read a lot during my lunch breaks, and was grateful to have this one to complement my sandwiches. If you want to try something different, here's a series for you. l think you will be glad you tried it.
21 reviews
April 20, 2019
An accidental crime magnet

This is third book in the series that finds a tv producer, single father staying in his hometown to fulfill a one year commitment as he searches for his wife, who is supposedly dead. The cast of characters are the main hook to the novel but the mysteries move the story along rapidly. You don’t have to read them order but it helps to keep track of the three continuing sub plots; much like watching a series like NCIS.
Profile Image for Isobel Blackthorn.
Author 102 books167 followers
December 4, 2020
lower Power Trip is the third in this charming cosy mystery series set on Braxton university campus and featuring the likeable amateur sleuth Professor Kellon Arywick, along with a colourful and memorable cast of characters - I’m rather fond of Nana D.

Written in a pleasing first-person style, Cudney offers a quick catch-up to bring the reader up to speed on the complications in Kellon’s personal life and the various professional frictions on campus. There are the usual departmental rivalries and all the shenanigans that go with them. This time, President of Braxton Ursula Power is in mortal danger.

Cudney draws you into his story world and brings you up close to an array of quirky and relatable characters with all of their foibles, interweaving thick descriptions with a large dose of intrigue. Cudney makes sure to tick all the cosy mystery boxes, and all the loose threads are tied up at the end of this satisfying and thoroughly enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Cobwebby Eldritch Reading Reindeer .
5,255 reviews297 followers
March 31, 2019
I have really been enjoying following the progress of this series, and FLOWER POWER TRIP may be my favourite yet. Protagonist Kellan Ayrwick, since his return to his home town in Pennsylvania and establishing a homestead for himself and daughter Emma, has shed a good deal of his former fecklessness and has become much more stable and even valued. I appreciate watching his character evolution, and as always, his rowdy adventurous grandmother Nana D is a delight. The mysteries and backstory here seemed a little more edgy, more dangerous, even more intriguing.
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